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The one time the word 'lawyer' appeared in the VP debate



At least according to the CNN transcript, the word "lawyer" was spoken just once last night during the debate between Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden:

IFILL: Final question tonight, before your closing statements, starting with you, Sen. Biden. Can you think of a single issue -- and this is to cast light for people who are just trying to get to know you in your final debate, your only debate of this year -- can you think of a single issue, policy issue, in which you were forced to change a long-held view in order to accommodate changed circumstances?

BIDEN: Yes, I can. When I got to the United States Senate and went on the Judiciary Committee as a young lawyer, I was of the view and had been trained in the view that the only thing that mattered was whether or not a nominee appointed, suggested by the president had a judicial temperament, had not committed a crime of moral turpitude, and was -- had been a good student.

And it didn't take me long -- it was hard to change, but it didn't take me long, but it took about five years for me to realize that the ideology of that judge makes a big difference.

That's why I led the fight against Judge Bork. Had he been on the court, I suspect there would be a lot of changes that I don't like and the American people wouldn't like, including everything from Roe v. Wade to issues relating to civil rights and civil liberties.

And so that -- that -- that was one of the intellectual changes that took place in my career as I got a close look at it. And that's why I was the first chairman of the Judiciary Committee to forthrightly state that it matters what your judicial philosophy is. The American people have a right to understand it and to know it.

But I did change on that, and -- and I'm glad I did.

Biden's also getting grief around the blogosphere for misstating the constitutional duties of the vice president. See Shannen Coffin, National Review Online, for example, and Glenn Reynolds.

UPDATE: More from the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus, who notes Palin also floundered on constitutional questions. But not as much as Joe.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.